West Ham’s Declan Rice has fully established himself as one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League over the past 18 months.

The 20-year-old has really impressed for the Hammers, and he now must be the first name on Manuel Pellegrini’s team-sheet.

Rice always seems to be the stand-out player for West Ham, and unfortunately for the east London outfit, his fine displays have not gone unnoticed.

Burnley FC v West Ham United - Premier League

Declan Rice (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United have identified the young Hammers ace as their primary target. The Red Devils are allegedly prepared to pay £80 million for Rice.

Now, whilst West Ham will not want to lose Rice, the club’s owners might find it hard to resist that kind of cash.

And if the 20-year-old does leave the London Stadium, that money would have to be reinvested in a replacement.

The problem, however, is that the West Ham owners are notorious for being frugal with their money.

UEFA Europa League"AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United"

Nemanja Matic (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)

And with this in mind it was concerning to see reports linking the Hammers with a move for Manchester United ace Nemanja Matic earlier this week.

 

90Min claimed the Serbian is a target for Manuel Pellegrini.

Could West Ham be pre-empting Rice’s exit by bringing in Matic as his replacement?

If so, Hammers fans should be fuming. Matic is 31, well past his best, and has absolutely no pace or dynamism.

The move would be nothing short of a complete disaster for West Ham. The east London outfit must try to keep hold of Rice. If they cannot do that, however, they must reinvest any money they receive for him into someone just as good.

And that man certainly isn’t Matic.

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